Off we go!
This morning I took my initial set of measurements and stepped on the scale for the first time in a long while.
During the warmer months, I’m usually about 5 pounds leaner with my legs being tighter and more defined; however, after the holidays, being sick for 2 weeks without working out, and being on creatine and increasing carbs for the past week, I’m a little soft in the lower body and abs.
Regardless, this is the start – not the finish – and I’m looking to add size, so the weight gain and temporary discomfort are all part of the game. I had to look back on my post here to remind myself that this whole process has a beginning and an end.
Here are the results from today (all measurements are relaxed):
When I look back at my 2012 numbers, I had finished my bulk with close to the same measurements as above but with 10 more pounds.
I’m hoping to add about 1″ back to my shoulders and arms during this bulk and keep my hip and thigh measurements relatively similar to where they are now, although gaining some size in those areas is inevitable.
Below you can see the comparison of where I stand today at 145 pounds and were I was in 2012 at 150. In the 2012 photo, I was about 3 weeks into the cutting phase after a 4 month bulk and was much fuller and rounder than I am now. Granted, I was posing and in heels in the photo from 2012 and am relaxed and in bare feet in the photo from today, but I was certainly bigger.
Right now I’m rocking the lean, runner / dancer look, which is fine, but I definitely want to push to balance out my muscular lower half with a more rounded, full upper body.
This past week I executed the 45 carb /40 protein /15 fat breakdown that I referenced in my previous post; however, my mood and libedo plummeted. I was quickly reminded how flat and emotionless I felt during my 20 week cutting phase before my competition over a year ago and immediately knew that I needed to shift my macros – bulking should be fun!
I did some additional research and found this great article on Simply Shredded, one of my favorite sites. I highly recommend reading this if you’re in – or starting – your building phase.
I discovered that the cause of what I was experiencing was due to too drastic a reduction of my dietary fats. Fats are responsible for normal hormone function (including testosterone) and if they are reduced too much you risk experiencing the effects like those above and you can inhibit your body from reaching an anabolic state.
I have since revised my macros to the below and will follow this breakdown this week:
I have stuck to my 3 day / week split, although I truly miss being in the gym 6 days a week. I’m focusing on getting plenty of rest on my off days and trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night (I was getting about 6).
I’m not sure if it’s because I have been sick recently and my body is still recovering, or if it’s because my lifts are more complete, heavier and more taxing, but I have definitely felt shot after each gym session this week.
I’m working out each body part during each workout and am doing 5 sets of 10 reps per exercise, failing on the last 1 or 2 sets. I’m focusing on lifting heavy with excellent form.
While I was hell-bent on maintaining at least one program for a solid month, I have been wanting to challenge myself mentally and physically and so on Monday (1/6), I’m starting CrossFit.
Based on the fact that I have been doing regular bodybuilding lifts for over two years, this change to more olympic, dynamic movements will surely shock my system and hopefully fuel growth.
I’m extremely curious to see how my body reacts and, if needed, I’ll shift my calories and regular lifting sessions (if I still need them) accordingly.
Will definitely keep you posted.
It’s a new year, and while that doesn’t mean it’s time to start over, the beginning of a new year is a good place to start.
I have been training myself since my competition last November, and while I have positively changed the appearance of my physique (stronger, more define abs, better glute structure), I have not gained the upper body size I have been chasing after for two years.
Over the holidays, I got the urge to compete again in order to have a focus, a plan, a goal; however, after reviewing the pure financial cost associated with pursuing another competition – forget about the opportunity cost – I just can’t swing it this year.
While chatting with my targeted trainer / coach the other week, I told her how I had been lifting for over a year but hadn’t gotten the size gains I wanted. She mentioned that I probably needed to stimulate my body in new ways – more dynamic movements and a modified diet, consisting of more carbohydrates.
So while I save up the funds to hit the stage in 2015 – if not sooner – I have resolved to make some shifts in my overall training / diet regimen starting this week to see where it takes me.
The Plan: Clean bulk over the next 3 months, starting the cutting phase in April
The Diet: 45 carbs / 40 protein / 15 fats
– Starting with 2000 calories, making adjustments as I review my measurements and weight every week
The Workout: 3 days instead of 6 days
– Incorporating more rest days
– Targeting all body parts each work day with more dynamic / power movements
The Results: Will keep you posted with photos and measurements
Since the beginning of June I have added a few items to my supplement routine in order to promote better dietary balance and stimulate and protect muscle growth even more.
My diet is currently running at about 2400-2600 calories a day; carbohydrate to protein ratio is around 1.6 : 1. Fat is about 10% of my calories.
I was taking in about 3,000 calories up until the beginning of June.
My weight has fluctuated since I started bulking as my body grew (of course). Adding to the fluctuation of weight was the fact that I didn’t have a scale on which I was consistently checking in. I would be at Gym A one day, Gym B another, Gym C (yes, I have a Gym C) on another day.
Last week, I decided it was time that I bought a baseline scale and dropped $29.00 on a digital model. My coach weighed me in at 155 on June 1. As of this morning I am at 156.0 lbs, and I look bigger and leaner than I have in the past.
Oh how I love muscle growth.
Maybe it’s the supplements. Maybe it’s the hard work. Who knows. Here’s what’s currently in my supplement routine (now all on top of my refrigerator because I can’t fit everything in my supplement cabinet):
Mega EFA Fish Oil (3mg / day)
– Promotes healthy brain function, joint health and normal hormone function. When you’re sticking to a lean diet, these are essential to include to ensure your body is getting everything it needs to function well.
Creatine Blend (4g / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– Boosts performance in the gym and recovery afterward. When you take creatine, be sure you’re drinking enough water to keep your kidneys happy. I drink about 1 gallon a day.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (1200mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– This helps combat free radicals that are unleashed in your system after strenuous workouts – and it makes your skin look glorious!
Beta Alanine (3200g / day taken in 4 equal doses)
– You should stack your creatine with beta alanine as this boosts performance even more than just using creatine alone.
Vitamin C (1000mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
– This helps keep your immune system revved up and ready to combat anything that might come its way – especially helpful when you’re training hard and constantly breaking down your body.
6. Women’s Active Multi-Vitamin (1 serving in the AM)
– Just good to take for general health and wellness
7. Calcium (1200mg / day taken in 2 equal doses)
8. BCAA’s + Glutamine (1 serving taken 2 times a day in equal doses)
Just remember that gains in your figure are not done only through supplementation. One supplement that can’t be beat is a healthy diet filled with vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and lots of water – nothing should ever be substituted for that.
Do your research, try new supplements that are linked to your goals, but most importantly listen to your body. Tune in to what it’s telling you and don’t take anything that makes you feel lousy or totally crazy.
The work you do in the gym and in the kitchen will far outweigh any benefits that supplements alone will ever give you. That’s why they’re called “supplements.”
Be safe and strong and let me know if you have any questions!